Being creative isn’t at all about writing a best selling book or painting
a Picasso. When you think of Van Gogh, It took him many years before he made the paintings he is remembered for. Van Gogh led a complicated life, but practice and perseverance gave him the ability to create his masterpieces in his later years because he understood the Importance In Creativity.
So, don’t be concerned about trying to be perfect in your new-found creativity, either. Creativity and how it can benefit you, applies across all areas of your life, from making a different and delicious meal, to coming up with a killer idea at work, solving a water leak problem, or coming up with a new game to play with your family.
Creativity and the derived benefits can be channeled and honed in so many different ways, not just on a canvas or through arts and crafts, as this National Institutes Of Health (NIH) study suggests, which discusses the art and health connection. The study found that making art over time eventually decreased individuals’ negative emotions and helped them to focus on a productive task instead of dwelling on sad or anxious thoughts.
It could be through creating numerous solutions to various challenges,
but it is often through channeling in colorful and creative ways that most see as being creative, and we get the full health and well being benefit from it as the output is typically a tangible thing.
Creativity is a spark that lies deep down inside of all of us and has for millenna, but like anything else and anyone else, most of us, probably haven’t let our creativity show since we were a child. As we grew older; we censored our creativity as we began to conform to social norms, often as a means of fitting in and surviving.
So, we chose to not express ourselves due to not wanting others to judge us, which then led on to judging ourselves and making decisions based on what we thought someone else would approve of.
As adults we now find it awkward to express creativity and the fact we haven’t used it, makes it harder to activate or access it easily as adults. And unfortunately, it’s become undervalued or misunderstood, which means it’s easy to choose to invest less time on it. The fact that you’re not a famous writer or artist doesn’t mean that you’re not ‘creative’.
Everyone has imagination and creativity in them, but many don’t explore,
express or appreciate it , because we won’t attempt it, for a variety of reasons. But most of the time, it’s because some are disappointed in the results because its not perfect. So, they quite and they never reap the health and well being benefits.
What if Van Gogh had quite on his first paintings? The fact that what you created is not perfect the first time doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from investing some of your time and energy into a creative outlet that resonates with you. Another point is, acting on your imagination is what creativity really is, any way!
The more creativity we cultivate, the more we all benefit, both personally and as a society. According to an article published in the Journal Of Positive Psychology, the key to happiness lies neither in love nor financial success, but quite literally in your own hands.
Apparently, individuals who practice a creative activity once a day, no matter their skill level, are happier than the rest of us who choose not to use our creativity. The study found that after just 13 days,
volunteers who practiced a creative hobby each day demonstrated an upward spiral for well being and creativity, which would suggest that something as simple as practicing your creativity can have a long reaching effect of happiness on all aspects of one’s life.
Allows Freedom Of Expression
Allows you freedom and being mindful, which opens your mind to new ideas and concepts, innovations, expressions, and strips away inhibitions. It allows us to return to the feeling of freedom we may have experienced during childhood. Where we did not have to know or be an expert. There is no right or wrong way to be creative.
When we create, it gives us the opportunity to engage with the world without judging ourselves, and permission to take risks, try new things, and strip away inhibitions in a positive way, and building confidence and self-esteem. Creativity connects you with yourself, and, the more you know yourself, the better equipped you are to take on life’s challenges.
In addition to the fun-filled benefit of experimentation, creativity is also a wonderfully safe-haven for mistake-making. When you’re creative, you’re able to try new techniques, tools, and formats with minimal
repercussions. What is called “expressive writing”, is a creativity exercise therapy which has been effectively used as treatment with children sexually abused.
This therapy works by exposing negative situations that cannot be changed and integrate them into their life’s story, creating meaning for events that left indelible marks. One qualitative study that interviewed adults sexually abused as a child, found that asking them to write about their traumatic experiences, which is creative, allowed them, in conjunction with specialized trauma therapy, to make sense of the trauma in deeply personal ways.
Releases Innate Creativity
Creativity is the route to authenticity and innovation. Every advancement known to mankind started with a new idea, and new ideas are inspired by imagination and creativity. We learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesizing information. But, to be creative, you have to start somewhere.
So, you start by simply creating, like you did when you were a child! It’s there, deep-down inside, just go inside and find it! It allows you a safe space to experiment with your imagination, and even allowing you the experience of letting go and actually having fun.
Creativity enhances problem solving abilities and provides alternate
methods to work through issues, uncertainty, questions, stress or trauma, with less difficulty. Obstacles and challenges throughout life are inevitable. However, when we make creativity a habit, we continue to learn new, resourceful ways of solving problems in our creations, and in life.
You’ll find yourself pushing yourself out of comfort zones you didn’t realize you had. You’ll find yourself able to create things you never knew the world needed. If you pay attention, you’ll start to see your patterns and preferences, both of which teach you a lot about who you are and who you want to be.
Here’s some amazing statistics on a 1996 George Land Creativity Test study given to children and adults, just to show you that your innate creative ability is still inside you, it’s just been repressed, mainly through societal norms. The results are astounding, clearly showing as you age, your creative capability decreases because you stopped using it:
Test results among 5 year olds: 98%
Test results among 10 year olds: 30%
Test results among 15 year olds: 12%
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%
Being creative builds a stronger connection with your intuition and inner voice which in turn, we begin to access our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. When we take the time and energy to develop our own ideas, we learn to understand, trust and respect our inner self, in turn enabling us to better express ourselves. You may be surprised at the resources, thoughts and impulses that you discover there. Can you guess one of the best ways to delve into your inner voice?
In a most recent article on living a grateful life, we recommend writing down small daily thing that you were appreciative of and grateful of in a journal. Would It surprise you if we said people who write about their experiences daily actually aids them physically by having a stronger immune system? Although experts are still unsure how it works exactly.
Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, a University Of Wisconsin psychologist, explains that the kind private reflection that takes place while writing can help us work through issues and concerns we may have to allow us to come to a deeper understanding, not only psychologically, as the example we gave above with the abused children, but also physically.
While “therapeutic journaling” has proven effective in the treatment of those
experiencing post-traumatic stress and trauma survivors, the benefits also extend to those living with chronic health conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chronic pain and even those who are chronically poor sleepers. It’s believed the decreased release of the stress hormone cortisol is at least partially responsible, one of the keys to your immune system function, or lack of function.
Another study by the NIH concluded that singing has huge positive psyco-social benefits of participating in a communal activity such as group singing and could lead to enhanced immune function in patients affected by cancer.
Summons Our Instincts
Creativity increases focus, problem solving skills, the ability to offer multiple solutions, emotional intelligence and mindfulness Through practice it eventually reduces the need to seek perfection which only brings disappointment, stress and anxiety and in some cases, physical pain. The Importance In Creativity can’t be stressed enough because it does provide a deeper sense of purpose and understanding of yourself and others, besides all the other benefits. We learn to trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them.
This confidence carries over into decisions we make in other areas of life. Research is also showing that humans are hardwired or have the instinct to appreciate art, and whether you’re creating it or just
appreciating it. Art has a significant impact on the human brain. According to neuroscientist Oshin Vartarian, when we look at art, and areas of the brain involved in processing emotions and those that activate our pleasure and award systems, are also being engaged, bringing us pleasure.
Creates A Sense Of Timelessness
When you are able to summon your creativity, you get into what’s known as the “flow”. It’s that feeling when you’re so absorbed in what you’re doing that you forget what time it is, forget all the things you’ve been worrying about, and are fully engaged in the moment. A Harvard Medical School study delved into the concept of flow and amazing health and well being benefits derived, particularly in the human brain.
Benefits included reducing stress and anxiety, a boost in your mood, and even a slower heart rate. All positive benefits! It’s not at all easy to get into the flow state doing anything other than creating. Making something makes you present in the here and now. Repetitive creative motions like knitting, drawing, or writing help activate flow, and are all tasks that create a result.
And when you succeed at creating a result, no matter what it is, your brain is flooded with dopamine, the pleasure hormone which motivates you. And, when you’re fully in the moment, the stress hormone cortisol is kept
at bay, and you’re unable to stress about the past or the future. A Creative Research Journal study “Time and Timelessness: Creativity in (and out of) the Temporal Dimension”, investigated the relationship of creativity and time, particularly how timelessness is related to the deep immersion state of the creative process.
Builds Self Confidence
Being creative boosts self-esteem, self-love, self-expression, empathy, immune function, positivity and energy, both physical and mental. It improves mental health, memory, listening skills, coordination, cognitive function and can also improve physical fitness. It offers the opportunity to view the bigger picture which promotes bigger thinking and more creativity, and also encourages a more balanced view on life.
The confidence you experience with being creative, regardless of what it is, spills over to others aspects of your life, as well, increasing your overall sense of ability. An example of this is restoring cognitive function in dementia patients. Studies have shown, like an NIH study, that creative engagement not only reduces depression and isolation, but can also help people with dementia tap back in to their personalities and sharpen their senses.
Another study conducted at the Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, showed that just about 45 minutes of free art-making in a studio attended by an art therapist was enough to increase a person’s
self-efficacy, which is a term used to describe a person’s confidence in themselves and their ability to complete tasks. According to Kaimal, one of the researchers, 73% of the participants showed a beneficial increase in their feelings of self-efficacy after completing their art.
I was surprised to see that a session as short as 45 minutes could result in a shift in self-perception,
Relieves Uncertainty and Stress
Being creative is meditative. Taking the time to use our hands, minds, and energy doing something we enjoy and that makes us happy, is of the highest importance in life. Creativity is fun, and doing anything that brings joy reduces our stress levels and improves our quality of life.
The Journal Of the American Art Therapy Association ran a pilot study on the influence of art-making on anxiety and their findings suggest that a brief period of art making can significantly reduce a person’s state of
anxiety, which may have implications for art and art therapy programs that offer methods for helping college students and others coping with stress.
The NIH reviewed the feasibility of using Creative Art Therapy (CAT) in reducing stress levels in humans and said the following:
In the context of stress prevention, the quality of efficacy studies analyzing creative arts interventions is high. Three quarters of the included studies could be allocated to evidence level I and over 80% found a significant improvement in one of their stress-related outcomes.
Restores The Brain’s Plasticity
Research has shown that illness changes the human brain functioning. However, that same research has also shown that with proper rehabilitation, the injured brain rewires and recovers its function, which is what is referred to as restoring “brain plasticity”. One exciting field of study of rehabbing the brain is through art, or art therapy. One such study in the Croatian Medical Journal and reviewed by the NIH, said that,
Treating human pathology using art gives us a tremendous alternative unique and novel option for engaging brain networks that enhance the way the brain processes information, incorporates external and internal data, and develops new efficient brain connections.
Another study By the American Academy Of Neurology reports that people who take on craft-based projects in midlife and older have a 45% less chance of developing cognitive issues such as dementia. Yet another 2011 study published in the Journal Of Neurophyciatry, asked what impact does leisure activities have on the brain?
It was revealed playing games, reading books and crafting could reduce your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30% to 50%. The study showed computer activities; craft activities, such as knitting, quilting, etc.; playing games; and reading books were associated with decreased odds of having loss of cognitive function. Social activities, such as traveling, were marginally significant.
There are certain daily activities that will place you in the right frame
of mind and makes it more conducive to explore rediscovering your lost creativity.
How To Boost Your Creativity:
Make A Commitment to Find Your Creatvity
Learn All You Can About Your Creativity Interest
Be Willing To Take Risks and Make Mistakes (Fight Your Fear Of Failure)
Be Mindful, Use Relaxation Techniques, Meditate, and Brainstorm For New Ideas
Commit Time To Exploring Your Creativity
Overcome Negative Attitudes and Fears That Block Your Creativity
Realize and Accept That Most Problems Have Multiple Solutions
Keep A Creative Journal On Your Progress
Challenge Yourself and Create Opportunities for Creativity
Look At the “Pros” and “Cons” Of Your New Project
Embrace Sources of Inspiration
Keep An Open Mind and Consider Alternative Scenarios
Use the “Snowball Effect” (one creative idea leads to another)
GET STARTED IMMEDIATELY!
For a little inspiration, here are some amazing quotes on “Creativity”
The creative adult is the child who survived.
— Ursula Leguin
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.
— Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Everything you can imagine is real.
— Pablo Picasso
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.
— Mary Lou Cook
We will cover each of these concepts and daily activities listed above in great detail in our next article to be released in a couple of days. The links provided are separate articles written relating to each concept or activity. We hope you are now convinced of the Importance In Creativity and why you should dig deep-down and find it and bring it back into your life, if you haven’t already. What are your thoughts?